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  • Context

    Shor’s code-breaking algorithm inspired reflections on quantum information

    Second of two parts (read part 1)When the Robert Redford film Sneakers hit theaters in 1992, most moviegoers had never heard of the Internet. They’d have guessed “World Wide Web...
    04/18/2014 - 18:13 Quantum Physics, History of Science
  • Reviews & Previews

    To do: Exhibits to explore this May in D.C. and New York

    The Future Is Here Festival May 16–18Cosmologist Brian Greene and actor Patrick Stewart are among the headliners at this event, themed “science meets science fiction.”Ronald Reagan Building, Washington, D.C.World Science FestivalMay 28–June 1...
    04/17/2014 - 18:23 Technology, Science & Society, Animals
  • News

    Gene activity sets humans apart from extinct hominids

    Extinct human cousins may have used some genes differently than modern people do, an analysis of Neandertal and Denisovan DNA reveals.Compared with living people, Neandertals and ancient Siberians known as Denisovans had slightly different patterns of DNA methylation — a chemical modification of DNA that doesn’t change the information in genes but helps control gene activity. Evolutionary...
    04/17/2014 - 14:00 Genetics, Molecular Evolution, Human Evolution
  • Scicurious

    That beard is only hot because it’s not cool

    Every hipster knows that something is only cool before it becomes popular. There’s no point in liking a band once it hits the big time. That shirt is no good once it’s no longer ironic. And it’s certainly not enough to go clean shaven or grow a short beard — that’s much too mainstream. Recent years have seen a resurgence of moustaches, mutton chops and Fu Manchus. A style that really stands out...
    04/15/2014 - 19:01 Psychology
  • News in Brief

    Laetoli footprints show signs of unusual gait

    CALGARY, Alberta — Hominids that left footprints in volcanic ash at Laetoli, Tanzania 3.6 million years ago walked differently than people today do, Kevin Hatala, an anthropologist George Washington University in Washington, D.C., reported on April 11 at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists annual meeting. His conclusion challenges a recent study suggesting that Laetoli folk took...
    04/15/2014 - 11:27 Anthropology
  • News in Brief

    Earliest case of a battered child found in Greece

    CALGARY, Alberta — A pit where Athenians living 2,200 years ago typically deposited fetuses and babies who had died of natural causes contained a grim surprise for Maria Liston, an anthropologist at the University of Waterloo, Canada. In the pit, she found the skeleton of a roughly 1-year-old child who was probably beaten to death before being thrown into what’s known as the “...
    04/15/2014 - 10:11 Anthropology
  • News in Brief

    Ancient boy died surprisingly young

    CALGARY, Alberta—  A nearly 2-million-year-old Australopithecus sediba skeleton from South Africa belonged to a boy who was just 7.5 years old when he plunged to his death in an underground cave, Harvard University’s Adeline Le Cabec reported on April 11 at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists annual meeting. Researchers previously assumed that the boy...
    04/14/2014 - 16:34 Anthropology
  • News

    Turkana Boy sparks row over Homo erectus height

    CALGARY, Alberta — A Stone Age boy stands at the center of a controversy over when members of the human evolutionary family first reached heights and weights comparable to those of modern human adults.All that remains of the ancient, approximately 8-year-old Homo erectus boy today is his nearly complete roughly 1.5-million-year-old skeleton. Excavations in 1984 near...
    04/14/2014 - 15:07 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • Context

    Quantum experts discuss the measurement problem: A transcript from 1994

    What follows is a fairly complete transcript of a discussion about quantum physics on May 19, 1994, the last day of a workshop in Santa Fe, N.M. It begins with some technical issues, posed by John Denker of Bell Labs, concerning projection operators, mathematical expressions involved in representing quantities that can be observed in quantum measurements. It soon evolves into a more...
    04/13/2014 - 14:00 Quantum Physics, Science & Society
  • Context

    Robert Redford film foretold Shor’s quantum computing bombshell

    First of two partsLong before scientists were talking much about it, Robert Redford fans learned about the power of quantum computers.It was 1992. A goofy movie called Sneakers warned about the dangers of computers and the massive amounts of encrypted information they controlled. Redford and cohorts acquired a small box,...
    04/10/2014 - 13:00 Quantum Physics, History of Science